Category Archives: Leasing

Austin-area home sales set records again!!!

This report is a direct copy and paste from the Austin Board of Realtors site. Click here for a direct link to the article on ABoR site.
Austin-area home sales set records for the month of December, annual home sales volume in 2014

Austin Board of REALTORS® releases real estate statistics for December 2014 and 2014 year-end totals

AUSTIN, Texas – January 21, 2014 – According to the December 2014 and Year-End 2014 Multiple Listing Service (MLS) report released today by the Austin Board of REALTORS®, the Austin-area housing market set a record for single-family home sales volume for the month of December, as well as a record for annual home sales volume in 2014. This marked the fourth-straight year of annual home sales increases.

Barb Cooper, 2015 President of the Austin Board of REALTORS®, explained, “The Austin area experienced a strong, stable housing market in 2014, with year-end 2014 showing similar market conditions to those one year ago. Last month, the U.S. Census Bureau named Austin the third-fastest growing big city in America since 2000. That steady job and population growth has continued to drive increases in home sales volume and, combined with low housing inventory levels, home prices as well.”

According to the report, 2,283 single-family homes were sold in the Austin area in December 2014, a 14 percent increase compared to December 2013 and an all-time high for Austin-area home sales in the month of December. In 2014, home sales volume slightly exceeded 2013 levels to set a new record for the number of Austin-area homes sold in a year with 27,768 homes sold, a two percent increase from 2013.

Over the course of 2014, median price increased eight percent over 2013 to $242,500. In December 2014, the median price for Austin-area homes was $246,530, 10 percent higher than December 2013. As a result, the total sales dollar volume for single-family homes in 2014 topped $8.6 billion, an increase of more than $673 million from 2013.

Housing inventory levels remained low in 2014, despite breaking an 18-month trend of monthly decreases in the second quarter of 2014. In December, Austin-area monthly housing inventory was 2.2 months, 0.2 months higher than December 2013 but still well below the 6.5-month inventory level the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites as a balanced housing market.

This slow rise in housing inventory was driven by an influx of listings throughout the last half of 2014. Active listings in December 2014 jumped 12 percent year-over-year to 5,077 listings, while new listings rose 10 percent to 1,546 new listings from December 2013. Throughout the year, new and active listings each rose four percent in 2014 to 35,423 and 5,734 listings, respectively.

In 2014, homes spent an average of 47 days on the market, or three days fewer than homes sold in 2013, while pending sales increased one percent from 2013 to 28,325 sales. Homes sold in December 2014 spent three more days on the market than December 2013, or an average of 55 days, and pending sales increased 18 percent to 1,623 sales during the same time frame.

Cooper concluded, “The Austin-area housing market is consistent, but so are its challenges. More homes on the market, at all price ranges and throughout all areas of Austin, will be crucial to maintaining Austin’s affordability in 2015. As one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the U.S. we must look to our new city council for a regulatory environment that stimulates and grows housing stock in a healthy, sustainable way.”

December 2014 Statistics

  • 2,283 – Single-family homes sold, 14 percent more than December 2013.
  • $246,530 – Median price for single-family homes, 10 percent more than December 2013.
  • $311,082 – Average price for single-family homes, six percent more than December 2013.
  • 55 – Average number of days single-family homes spent on the market, three days more than December 2013.
  • 1,546 – New single-family home listings on the market, 10 percent more than December 2013.
  • 5,077 – Active single-family home listings on the market, 12 percent more than December 2013.
  • 1,623 – Pending sales for single-family homes, 18 percent more than December 2013.
  • 2.2 – Months of inventory* of single-family homes, 0.2 month more than December 2013.
  • $710,200,206 – Total dollar volume of single-family properties sold, 21 percent more than December 2013.

2014 Year-End Totals

  • 27,768 – Single-family homes sold, two percent more than 2013.
  • $242,500 – Median price for single-family homes, eight percent more than 2013.
  • $309,975 – Average price for single-family homes, seven percent more than 2013.
  • 47 – Average number of days that single-family homes spent on the market, three days fewer than 2013.
  • 35,423 – New single-family home listings on the market, four percent more than 2013.
  • 5,734 – Active single-family home listings on the market, four percent more than 2013.
  • 28,325 – Pending sales for single-family homes, one percent more than 2013.
  • $8,607,385,376 – Total dollar volume of single-family properties sold, nine percent more than 2013.

The following sections describe trends in other sectors of the Austin real estate market.

Townhouses & Condominiums

The volume of townhouses and condominiums (condos) purchased in the Austin area in December 2014 was 222, which is six percent more than December 2013. In the same time period, the median price for condos was $229,750, which is five percent more than the same month of the prior year. When compared to December 2013, these properties spent five additional days on the market, or an average of 55 days.

Over the course of 2014, 3,150 Austin condos were sold, which is statistically unchanged compared to 2013; the median price was $215,000, or 10 percent more than 2013; and condos spent an average of 43 days on the market, nine days fewer than 2013.

Leasing

In December 2014, a total of 1,214 properties were leased in Austin, which is 17 percent more than December 2013. The median price for Austin-area leases was $1,450, which is five percent more than the same month of the prior year. In all of 2014, a total of 16,960 properties were leased in Austin, which is four percent more than 2013, and the median lease price was $1,480, or six percent more than 2013.

My Top Ten Reasons To Live or Invest in Austin Texas

  1. The Weather.

I love the climate. Austin has a humid subtropical climate, and I like the humidity. Austin is sunny when it is not raining, and I do love a good rain storm down here. But, I really love the sunshine. The Weather Channel documents that Austin reports nearly 2650 hours, or 60.3% of the possible total, of bright sunshine per year. Summer dewpoint averages at around 68°F. That’s my kind of town. We still have some seasons, but mostly, they are sunny and beautiful. I don’t mind the heat either, but it is hot down here in the Summer for sure. The same report cites that Austin documents highs that reach 90° F on 116 days per year, and 100° F on 18. So, if you can’t take the heat, you might want to get out of Austin in the Summer. But, it only freezes on average 18 days a year. I like that statistic.

  1. It’s Affordable.

Texas consistently ranks as one of the nation’s most favorable business climates based on its low tax burden and competitive regulatory environment. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites Texas as one of the most affordable housing markets in the country. Stable home prices and historically low mortgage rates make Central Texas homes very affordable relative to household income. The Cost of Living Index is considerably lower in Austin than most other comparable areas, and remember, we have the weather and other cool things along with relative affordability. It is also a great place to invest. Metrostudy, a housing information and consulting firm, reported recently that their quarterly survey of the Austin market revealed a 17% increase in new home starts compared to Q1-3, 2013. The following chart is a copy and paste from the Austin Chamber of Commerce web site.

chart-cost-living

3. It’s Innovative

Ranked as the second-most innovative city in May 2010 by Forbes magazine, Austin is one of the top cities in the country for entrepreneurs. Perhaps that’s why leading companies such as Dell, Samsung, Facebook, Google and National Instruments and me all have key offices here.

4. It’s fun down here.

There’s something for everyone in Austin. Austin boasts major music festivals; a world-class nightlife; more than 30 museums; and is the host city for the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix through 2021. There is always something going on! And just wear your shorts. I like the glitz and glamour sometimes, but once I got all settled in, I am like the casual atmosphere. Austin City Limits festival is awesome. South By South West is amazingly fun, even if you don’t have no stinking wrist bands. I have enjoyed SXSW for many years. Maybe this year I will get a wrist band and really go all in since I live right here.

Reason #4 also has some real estate tie into it. These big festivals bring in big money for those who rent their place out for the weekend. Go look on Air BnB and see what condos down here are going for during any of those venues.

5. The Lakes are very much alive.

Austin is a lake community.  The drought and over-irrigation of Lake Travis put it in a state of change. Some establishments went out of business because the lake line moved about 150 feet in some instances. What was once lakefront is now a distant lake view. However, that did not stop the boating community in Austin. I highly recommend Devil’s Cove if you have not been there. It is a whole lot of fun and that party has not changed much over the years.

I like helping my Dallas and outside folks find lake properties. It is a great time of the year to invest in that second home. There are some great deals to be had, and the drought is over. The lake is back up, not where it was, and it never will be again, but it is still Lake Travis. There are some really cool homes that are below tax records and a few REO’s out there to be had. There is also a lot of new development going on in Bee Caves, Lakeway, Steiner Ranch areas. If you have not driven out there lately, it is a whole new place blowing up out there. I like that area a lot.

6. It’s fit and healthy

  •  Austin is named one of America’s Best Bike Cities by Bicycling Magazine (September 2014) 
  • Austin is named one of the Top 10 Fittest Cities in America by Sharecare (January 2014) 
  • The American College of Sport Medicine ranks Austin the 11th Fittest City in America and number 1 fittest city in Texas in their latest American Fitness Index  (May 2013)
  • Women’s Health magazine ranks Austin the 4th healthiest city for women. (January 2012)
  • BBC.com Travel names Austin as one of the healthiest cities in America (may 2012)
  1. The downtown vibe is super cool.

It’s safe. It’s chic. It’s hip. It’s fun. It’s a beer town. It’s pet friendly. It’s gay friendly. It’s race friendly. It’s all that! It’s the heart of Austin Texas.

  • Forbes ranks Austin among America’s Coolest Cities to Live (July 2012)
  • Forbes names East Austin #7 of America’s Best Hipster Neighborhoods (September 2012)
  • Matador Network names Austin #2 best beer town in America (May 2013)
  • CQ Press names Austin’s crime rate as the fourth lowest in the nation among cities with more than 500,000 people (February 2013)
  • Austin is named the #20 top meeting destination in the United States by the Professional Convention Management Association (August 2013) 
  • Austin is ranked the No. 4 safest city in the United States with a population over 500,000 by the FBI (2013) 
  • Priceline.com ranks Austin #7 on its list of America’s Most Pet-Friendly Cities for Travelers (April 2013)
  • Austin is one of the friendliest cities in America for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, according to personal finance website NerdWallet (May 2014) 
  • Moneyunder30.com ranks Austin the #1 City in America to Be Young, Broke & Single (June 2013)

8. Live Music

Austin is known as “the live music capital of the world.” According to Austin Relocation Guide report in 2013, the slogan became official in 1991, after it was discovered that Austin had more live music venues per capita than anywhere else in the nation. It has been registered and trademarked. There are reportedly more than 1,900 bands and performing artists living in and around our city. From Austin Blues to Emo, Austin’s nearly 200 live music venues mean you can catch a show any day, at almost any time. Austin is also home to some of the largest music events and festivals in the world, including South by Southwest (SXSW), Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL), The Urban Music Festival, Fun Fun Fun Fest, the Pachange Festival and more. I love love love the music in this town. It’s just everwhere and it’s a vibe down here that is unique and only paralleled in places like Memphis and Nashville.

9. Growing Economy

According to Monster.com report on job growth, Austin holds great employment potential for residents. Its unemployment rate is consistently lower than the national average and the average wage is growing faster than anywhere in Texas. In fact, Austin’s favorable business climate and considerable growth in clean energy and technology led.

  • Forbes names Austin America’s fastest growing city (January 2013)
  • Forbes names Austin America’s #1 Fastest-Growing City for the fourth year in a row (February 2014) 
  • Nerdwallet.com ranks Austin 3rd Best City to Start a Business (April 2013)
  • Bloomberg News ranks Austin #1 on its list of Top 12 American Boomtowns (April 2013)
  • Forbes names Austin #1 City for Future Job Growth (August 2013) 
  • InvestmentNews ranks Austin, Texas No. 1 best city to open your small business (September 2013) 
  • Austin’s economy ranked No. 1 in the country by The Business Journals’ On Numbers (October 2013) 
  1. It’s Educated
    Home to the University of Texas, 7 other public and private universities, 29 public school districts, 17 charter schools and 69 private schools, Austin is an educated city. Among Austin residents age 25 and older, 40% hold bachelors degrees or more.

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As I have written yesterday, now is a great time to lease. This is pretty cool opportunity for someone in the lease market in the next few months – but you need to act now. This is a really chic small complex in 78704!  And, they are offering ONE MONTH FREE for a limited time! New construction is hard to find in the 78704 zip code. Be among the first people to live in this small complex minutes from SOCO and downtown. Granite kitchen/bathroom and wood Vinyl flooring. This unit is only $1000 a month. The upstairs units have vaulted ceilings.  These will go fast, so call me for a showing! Text, call, email or just hit reply below…

Durwood1_edited-1 Durwood2_edited-1 Durwood2a durwood3_jpg

Good time to sign a lease

This is a great time to negotiate a lease in this town. The prices are negotiable right now. In my opinion, we will see the prices correct and go right back up after the first of the year. I recently have helped a few folks renegotiate their lease and/or sign a new one. If you are interested in moving any time soon, hit me up. No one wants to move now, but we can negotiate your lease and get it locked in before you ring in 2015! Then you can move in January and start the year off fresh and in a well negotiated new place to call home!

Data for 78703- December 2014

As a resident of this fine zip code, I love enjoying all the amenities that is unique to the ‘03’ as it were. With that being said, home ownership is valuable in this area. If you are considering selling your property for whatever reason, ‘tis the season. As a researcher for 20 years, I have a keen eye for data analysis. I took some time to really get to know the zip code in which I live and enjoy. The results are why I am writing this report.

According to reports I custom ran from the Austin Multiple Listing Services (MLS) Matrix Actris data reporting system, the sales in 78703 either remained consistent or surged in December 2012 and 2013 (TABLE 1). Compare active listings this year to historic data, and the number is down from previous years leaving a reduced supply situation (TABLE 2). The data indicates that there was an increase in home sales this time last year, so we can reasonably anticipate an increased demand along with a documented reduced supply

TABLE 1

TABLE 1_

 

TABLE 2TABLE 2

TABLE 3TABLE 3

Source: http://matrix.abor.com/Matrix/Stats/Stats

The overall median prices are up this year home sales in 78703 over the past decade (TABLE 3).  So, the number of listed homes is lower than in previous years. Median sales prices are at a ten-year high. And, historically, sales data show an increase in December sales in this area. If you are contemplating timing, I hope this helps. If you are not, then I hope you find this interesting. I know that I do. If you see me around, be sure to say hello. And, if you know of someone who has some real estate needs, even leasing, send them my way.

A New Era for Real Estate Starts Today

I sat with two of my children on a patio at Glorias in Dallas in Uptown with my good friend John Mauldin one warm summer night in July, 2007. He said, “kids remember this moment in your life. Tomorrow a bunch of banks are going to make some announcements that will affect all our lives forever.” That was a landmark moment in my life as the economic crisis unfolded before my eyes. I had just sold a home with a sub-prime loan and paid the pre-pay penalty in June 2007 and ‘dodged a bullet’ as it were.

Today, as I sip my coffee, I feel that today is another one of those significant days in our economy in my opinion. December 1, 2014 is the date that an agreement with Fannie and Freddie to relax lending standards takes effect. According to the Wall Street Journal, the new guidelines resulted from an agreement in October meant to clarify when lenders would be penalized for making mistakes on mortgages they sell to Fannie and Freddie. This paves the way for more applicants to qualify for loans, which will have a positive outcome for our economy, regardless of the current oil price wars. According to the WSJ report, lenders are preparing to further ease standards for borrowers after the release of new guidelines by Fannie and Freddie.

According to the WSJ report, relaxing the lending standards potentially could make it possible for hundreds of thousands of additional consumers to get mortgages. This is significant across the board in my opinion. The Urban Institute Director of Housing Finance Policy Center says, the moves are “going to be big,” but she added that “it’s going to take time” to see the full impact of the changes. The Urban Institute, a Washington think tank, earlier this year estimated that as many as 1.2 million additional home loans would be made annually if mortgage availability were at “normal” levels.

According to the reports out there, lenders also are expected to widen the scope of the types of borrowers they will accept by reducing credit-score requirements and giving greater leeway to consumers whose credit history suffered because of one-time events, such as a job loss or big medical bill. The conjecture out there according to multiple reports is that the big banker guys believe that this shift is going to be substantive and meaningful. Not all lenders are on board yet. Some of them learned a tough lesson a few years ago.

All that being said, and that is great news, this is a great time to invest. Mortgage interest rates have done some interesting adjusting recently. The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped to 4.08 percent from 4.1 percent last week, according to the Bankrate.com national survey of large lenders. One year ago, that rate was 4.44 percent. Four weeks ago, it was 4.1 percent. This is the third weekly decrease in a row. The mortgages in this week’s survey had an average total of 0.29 discount and origination points.

  • Over the past 52 weeks, the 30-year fixed has averaged 4.36 percent. This week’s rate is 0.28 percentage points lower than the 52-week average.
  • The benchmark 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.29 percent from 3.3 percent.
  • The benchmark 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 3.19 percent from 3.21 percent.
  • The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate jumbo rose to 4.14 percent from 4.13 percent.

“Rates should be going up because all you have to do is look at the revision to third-quarter GDP number. The U.S. economy is growing,” said Joel Naroff, founder and president of Naroff Economic Advisors as reported on www.bankrate.com. “Why they’re where they are is because of the rest of the world.”

This translates in lower than expected market mortgage rates at a time when the market is about to open to first-time, entry-level or even re-entry level buyers, like myself. I have been in the leasing game since they stopped lending to us ‘fringe’ credit scores. For investors, now is a prime time to invest in building and/or refurbishing existing single family homes, duplexes and four-plexes in the prime areas in Austin or anywhere in the Central Texas area actually. This is an exciting time to be in the real estate business. I look forward to seeing how this unrolls on all ends, from helping my investor clients find that perfect little morsel before December 31 or helping those like myself back into home ownership.

 

Looking for a spacious central killer place to lease for under $1800?

Looking for something modern, new, centrally located AND affordable? Try the 51st area and take a look at these apartments. Fully Remodeled, Luxury 2 Bedroom, 2 Bath, 2 Story Townhouse @ The Bennett on 51st St ~ Wood & Tile Floors ~ Granite Counters ~ Modern Fixtures ~ High End Finishes ~ Stainless Appliances ~ Washer & Dryer Included ~ Huge Walk In Closets ~ Designated Parking ~ Beautiful Common Areas ~ Private Balconies out Each Bedroom ~ 2 Living Areas ~ Private Unit at the Back of the Complex ~ Overlooks Patio. This is one that will not last long!!!

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Some Real Estate Fun Trivia

 Q: What 70-room East Coast mansion was built as a summer home and is known as a “Gilded Age cottage”?

A: Cornelius Vanderbilt’s “Breakers” Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, named for the waves crashing along the cliff that separates the property from the ocean.

 

Q: What trendy and highly unusual hotel must be totally rebuilt every year?

A: Sweden’s popular Ice Hotel, which has 60 double rooms, 25 suites and an interior temperature of 20 degrees, starts melting to the ground in May and is rebuilt every winter.

 

Q: What country of the world has the highest percentage of private housing?

A: Mongolia, where 100% of all properties are owner-occupied.

 

Q: Where would you go to visit the largest ancient castle in the world?

A :You would travel to Prague, Czech Republic, to see the Prague Castle, built in the 9th century, with a total surface area of 18 acres.

 

Q :What is the world’s most expensive Monopoly set?

A :San Francisco jeweler Sidney Mobell created an exclusive $2 million Monopoly set, with solid 23 carat gold houses, chimneys made of rubies and sapphires and dice with 42 full cut diamonds for spots 

Real Estate Market Trends In This Country

According to the 2014 Urban Land Institute report released at their annual planning conference in Chicago, we are about half way through the real estate recovery market. Or I think we are about 2/3 of the way there. It has been slow and painful, but there are some excellent markets out there that are thriving.

The report and conference highlighted a number of housing trends we can expect to see playing out over the next few years, based on surveys and interviews with real estate developers, investors, lenders, services and builders.

The Millennial generation are changing the market, and the real estate movers and shakers are increasingly interested in where this generation is headed. A number of the cities have seen increased economic activity in the real estate sector led by this generation, particularly Austin, Seattle, Portland and the Twin Cities in Minneapolis.

Investors, developers and builders are losing some interest in the so-called 24-hour gateway cities — San Francisco and New York City — and have developed more interest in cities like Dallas and Portland, where there are more housing deals to be had.

For example, in 2011 only New York City and Washington, D.C. had good prospects for real estate investors and developers, according to the ULI report, but now Austin, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Orange County, Portland, San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle make that list — and D.C. actually dropped out.

There’s optimism among those surveyed by ULI that lending standards will loosen next year. That is straight up conjecture in my opinion. The interesting thing that is happening to fill the void is a concept called “shadow banking”. Shadow banking is similar to traditional bank lending, but it’s done outside banks and can therefore get around bank regulations. Borrowers going this route will find a hodge-podge of private funds, wealthy individuals, family offices, and refugees from other lending markets, according to the report.

 

Austin’s Ever Changing Market

photo 2 (8)According to the September 2014 Multiple Listing Service (MLS) report released October 21, 2014 by the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR), Austin-area single-family home prices set a record for the month of September. Concurrently, the Austin-area single-family home sales rebounded from the previous two months of home sales declines, increasing 10% from September of last year.

The report further indicates that Austin-area homes continue to sell quickly with the average number of days single-family homes spent on the market at 44 days. This figure has remained consistent for two years and showed little change in the past four years. This along with continued gains in single-family home listings are having a positive effect on pending sales,

The report indicates that the volume of townhouses and condos purchased in Austin in September 2014 is down 4% from September 2013. However, in the same time period, the median price for condos was $205,500 indicating a 1% price increase in the same time period. These properties spent an average of 41 days on the market, two days fewer than last year and three days fewer than homes on the market. Leases in the Austin area are up 8% in September 2014 compared to last year.

The bottom line, people are still moving here in record numbers. This is the time to buy, sell or lease. Call me and let’s talk about this dynamic market. It is so incredibly dynamic. Inventory moves fast. I have to delete items out of carts on my MLS all the time because they are not there long. I have a lot of calls on properties that are already gone. Sometimes by the time they are marketed, they are already gone. This is definitely a seller’s market, but you have to buy to sell!